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Just a quick note for any who are following the "Rolling Jubilee" movement and its upcoming telethon.  (See Allison Kilkenny's blog post.)

Sometimes, being an ex-Evangelical Christian has its advantages.  I am guessing -- I don't know, but it makes sense -- that the "Jubilee" in the "Rolling Jubilee" name is a reference to something called the "Year of Jubliee" from the ancient Hebrews' scriptures.  See the Wikipedia entry, here.

Basically, the "Year of Jubilee" occurred (...it is argued...) once every 49 years (7 x 7, a nice mystical number).  This year was a requirement of the ancient law of Sinai, the theocratic covenant between God and the people of Israel.  In this year, any land that had been lost due to its being collateral for a debt must be returned to its original owners!!  As the Wikipedia entry notes (and seems plausible to me), the year was probably established in order to reinforce the boundaries of the original settling tribes.

But what a cool, egalitarian concept, eh?  One can see how it would serve as inspiration for a movement to buy up bad debt and wipe it out.

For what it's worth, it's not clear that the Year of Jubilee was ever actually followed, in biblical times.  At any rate, there's no story to that effect, in the Hebrew scriptures.

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